Vacuuming is the oft-hated but always vital household chore that none of us ever want to do. So the last thing you need is to get started only to realize your vacuum isn’t getting all those microscopic particles making your home all stuffy. A good vacuum cleaner will ensure you get the job done the first time, so you can enjoy the benefits of cleaning with less work. Check out our round-up of the best canister vacuum cleaners of 2021 to find your new lean mean cleaning machine.
Our Top Picks:
Here’s the short version:
|Best Bagless: Eureka WhirlWind|
This machine uses washable filters that are reusable and has hardwood, carpet, and upholstery settings to clean pretty much everything.
|Best Budget: Bissell Zing|
For a canister vacuum on a budget, look no further than this lightweight, versatile, eco-friendly bagless machine.
|Best Bagged: Eureka Mighty Mite|
If you prefer bags, this machine features easy-clean dust bags and has a bonus blower port that can be used like a leaf blower for cleaning out garages and outdoor spaces.
|Best for Hardwood: Oreck Pro 5|
If your home is full of hardwoods, you’ll love the Oreck Pro 5’s full detailing kit.
|Best for Carpet: Miele Classic C1|
Though most canister vacuum cleaners can’t handle high-pile carpet, the Miele is here to deeply penetrate your low-pile carpets and rugs with ease.
A Closer Look: Best Canister Vacuum Cleaners
We’ve cleaned up the rest of the options, all for your benefit. Take a look at our handiwork below.
1. Eureka WhirlWind Bagless Canister Vacuum
The best canister vacuum cleaner overall
Brand: Eureka | Cord: Retractable, 16 Feet | Weight: 8 Pounds | Bag: Bagless | Price: 💰💰
Our pick for the best bagless canister vacuum cleaner uses washable filters rather than disposable bags to save both the environment and your wallet. This machine offers a deep clean on hardwoods, carpets, and upholstery thanks to the integrated airflow control built right into the handle. You also get a crevice tool in the hose handle so it’s always at your fingertips when you come across nooks and crannies. You can easily detach the handle from the hose to switch to the included dusting brush.
- Automatic cord rewind by stepping on a pedal
- Surface settings controlled via handle for easy toggling
- Dual-cyclone system uses filter, dust separator, and dust cup to filter particles without impacting suction
- Not strong enough for medium- to high-pile carpet
- The suction control slider can be too easy to accidentally hit while working
2. Bissell Zing Canister Vacuum
The best budget canister vacuum cleaner
Brand: Bissell | Cord: Retractable, 15 Feet | Weight: 8 Pounds | Bag: Bagless | Price: 💰
The first thing to love about this appliance is its price – at less than $60, it’s certainly a bargain-priced machine. It can easily alternate from cleaning carpets, to vacuuming hard flooring with the simple flip of a switch. Weighing in at less than 8 pounds, this appliance is extremely easy to work with, and its filters can be washed and re-used indefinitely, making it an eco-friendly option. Its 15-ft retractable cord can be recalled at the touch of a button, simplifying the storage process and saving you time.
- Affordable model with 15,000 5-star reviews
- Cyclonic suction thoroughly cleans a variety of surfaces
- Dust chamber is easy to empty with the touch of a button
- Some reviewers felt the 15-foot cord wasn’t long enough
- The crevice and brush tools don’t store on the unit itself and have to be kept separately
3. Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum
The best canister bagged vacuum cleaner
Brand: Eureka | Cord: 20 Feet | Weight: 11.6 Pounds | Bag: Bagged | Price: 💰💰
This is our choice for best bagged canister vacuum, and the bags can be purchased on Amazon at the same time that you buy the machine itself. This powerful 10-amp vacuum is versatile in its usage, and is just as adept at cleaning your auto as it is your carpets. It’s also very good at cleaning bare floor surfaces, coming with a special bare-floor nozzle just for this purpose. The power-touch handle and fingertip controls make this vacuum extremely easy to operate, and a joy to use anywhere around the home.
- Dust bags are easy to empty mess-free
- Extra-long 20-foot cord grants freedom of movement away from outlets
- Blower port can be used to blow dirt and debris from garages and outdoor spaces
- The hose may kink easily
- Switch on handle that twists to reduce suction power is activated too easily
4. Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 Super Compact
The best canister vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors
Brand: Oreck | Cord: 30 Feet | Weight: 5 Pounds | Bag: Bagless | Price: 💰💰
This model comes with a 30-ft power cord, so you can clean an entire room without switching outlets. It also comes with a handy shoulder strap and integrated handle for more maneuverability, and weighs in at just 5 pounds, making it the best lightweight canister vacuum cleaner we found. It comes equipped with a 4-ft hose, making it easy to clean ceiling fans, overhead vents, and other places which would normally be out of reach.
- The best lightweight canister vacuum cleaner at just 5 pounds
- 30-foot power cord is long enough no matter where your outlets are
- Full detailing kit includes 7 different attachments to clean just about anything
- The exhaust air current is strong and may blow things around in your home
- The shoulder strap would make carrying the canister convenient, but isn’t attached to the machine very well
5. Miele Classic C1 Pure
The best canister vacuum cleaner for carpet
Brand: Miele | Cord: 22 Feet | Weight: 19.4 Pounds | Bag: Bagged | Price: 💰💰💰
This canister vacuum has a combination floor head that handles hardwoods with ease, but also offers deep penetration into your carpets. Switch between 6 different suction powers to suit the surface you’re working on. The unique Miele AirClean System combines a Miele FilterBag, motor protection filter, and AirClean exhaust filter to ensure maximum filtration. In addition to the 7-year manufacturer’s warranty on the motor and casing (and a 1-years manufacturer warranty on parts and labor), this vacuum comes with a pure suction floorhead, dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool.
- Accessories mount directly to canister for easy storage and transport
- Unique air filtration system uses three filters to ensure optimal clean air
- Miele-made vortex motor offers powerful suction for both carpets and hardwoods
- The canister may be too lightweight, and tips over easily
- The included filter is not HEPA grade, though you can purchase one separately
6. Kenmore 200 Series Canister Vacuum
The best canister vacuum cleaner for pet hair
Brand: Kenmore | Cord: Retractable, 9 Feet | Weight: 20 Pounds | Bag: Bagged | Price: 💰💰💰
With its two-motor system, this vacuum has very powerful suction strength that’s great for pulling in pet hairs off all kinds of surfaces around your house. Literally anywhere kitty has been curling up will be no match for the Kenmore Elite. It also has an advanced HEPA system that traps almost 100% of all dust and dander in your household, removing virtually all pollutants.
At a lightweight 20 pounds, this appliance is very maneuverable and easy to work with. It comes with three attachments, each of which has a 9-ft reach, as well as a 24-ft retractable cord.
- Dual motor system offers excellent suction
- 4 height adjustments for optimal airflow to suit surface
- 24-foot cord is plenty long and retractable for convenience
- Not suitable for high-pile carpet
- The hose attaches to the machine without an elbow joint, which puts stress on the canister if you try to move the canister with the hose
7. Ovente Electric Bagless Canister Vacuum
The best small canister vacuum cleaner
Brand: Ovente | Cord: Retractable, 15.7 Feet | Weight: 13 Pounds | Bag: Bagless | Price: 💰💰
This Ovente model also uses a HEPA filter to remove up to 99.97% of all dust, dander, pet fur, and other pollutants that can impact breathing. It’s small in size but huge in cleaning power, and comes with all the attachments you need to clean pretty much everything. Between the floor brush, crevice nozzle, and telescopic wand, you can reach everywhere to remove all pollutants. You can’t beat this machine for convenience, with its 360-degree hose swivel, step on/off button, and automatic cable retractor.
- LED indicator light when dust bin and/or filters are full
- Stainless steel wand is telescoping for adjustable reach
- Retractable cord rewinds into the canister with the touch of a button
- Some reviewers felt the 15.7-foot cord is too short
- The foot pedal toggle between carpet and hardwood settings may stick
What to Look For
So what is the best canister vacuum cleaner to buy? That all depends on you and what you’re looking for. Here are some things to consider before you decide:
Canister vs. Upright
Canister vacuums are generally lighter weight than uprights, but you often have to bend over to use them. Though they have wheels, some find lugging around the canister part of the canister vacuum a pain, and would rather just wheel around an upright.
On the other hand, uprights tend to me much louder, and can be difficult to get into the nooks and crannies of your home. Though both styles come with versatile attachments, canister vacuums often come with detailing attachments better for cleaning upholstery, stairs, curtains, and more, while uprights come with broader attachments like a brush for your floorboards and a hose for getting crumbs under the kitchen cabinets.
Amps correlate to how powerful the machine is. The more amps, the more powerful. But before you jump on the vacuum with the most amps you can find, consider what you’re planning to vacuum. You probably don’t need the strongest machine on the market, especially if you’re just getting it for home use. Most canister vacuums hover around the 12-amp range, and that’s pretty much the limit for what you can safely plug into standard home electrical outlets. Anything higher than this may not be suitable for domestic use, while anything lower may not get the job done right the first time.
The canister part of your canister vacuum is usually on wheels so you can easily drag it around the house with you, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to pick it up. Wheels aren’t infallible, and they may get stuck sometimes. You might also need to lug the machine up and down stairs. So be sure to check how much the vacuum actually weighs, and consider what amount you think you can comfortably carry around.
Bagged vs Bagless
The only real difference between bagged and bagless canister vacuums is how they store the dirt, dust, and debris they collect. Both machines have an interior chamber, but bagged machines will have a bag lining that chamber where everything ends up. On bagged machines, the collection chamber likely won’t be removable, since you can change out the bag. On bagless machines, the chamber probably will be removable, so you can take it out and clean it between uses.
Bagged machines are generally easier to clean up, but you have to remember to buy new bags. If you’re eco-conscious, the disposable nature of most vacuum bags might not appeal to you. You can get reusable bags that are washable (either by hand or machine), but that adds another chore to your list any time you need to vacuum.
Bagless machines are more eco-friendly, because you can take out the debris chamber to empty it. You can even give it a rinse once you’ve dumped it out if you need to. However, these are messier to clean. Remember, your vacuum cleaner is sucking up lots of dust and dirt, all of which will happily take to the air when disturbed. Also, the contents of your vacuum can smell, and no bag means no easy way to seal off the stink.
You want a powerful machine, but you also need versatile attachments. Consider what kinds of things you’ll need to vacuum, and look at the available attachments to make sure there’s one for every kind of cleaning you want to do.
Some of the major attachments you’ll probably want:
- The crevice attachment helps you clean corners and tight areas.
- The wall/floor brush helps you clean walls and bare floors.
- The upholstery attachment is great for cleaning draperies and curtains, mattresses, auto interiors, and upholstery fabrics.
- The dusting brush is good for cleaning off lampshades, moldings, floorboards, and blinds.
When your vacuum sucks up dirt and debris, it also sucks in a lot of air that has to be pumped back out so the machine can keep doing its job. The last thing you want is for that air to be full of dust particles and pet dander, because then you might as well have not vacuumed! The filter in your vacuum is what makes sure nothing escapes along with that air. The better the filter, the higher-quality air you’ll be returning to your home. Many vacuums use HEPA filter systems, which are the gold standard when it comes to air filtration, but be sure to check. The filter should be easy to get to so you can change it.
You’ll also want to look into how often the filter will need to be changed, and how much replacement filters cost. A cheaper machine may save you money on the initial buy, but if you have to get a new filter every week, you’ll more than make up for it in the price of all those filters and the time and effort it takes to change them out.